Illegal Drugs Should not be Legalized

As it is known, the debates over the appropriateness of lifting sanctions on illegal drugs gain popularity. This idea manifests itself in the today’s popular culture of the United States. For example, many well-known movies bring the notion that substance abuse is not harmful and, thus, it should be tolerated at both legal and social levels. The scenes that depict drug users are demonstrated too often to be successfully avoided by an average viewer. Given this peculiarity, it is natural to assume that mass media serves to prepare people for legalization of the illegal substances. Without a doubt, such possibility evokes strong public resentment. Hence, at the same time, there are individuals who advocate the idea  of substance use legalization. Revealing the arguments against legal drug intake and refuting the pro opinions, this paper claims that illegal substance use should not be legalized because this idea possesses only negative implications for the future generations.

Legalizing drugs may not be considered as a strategy to decrease the level of crimes. In the article “Illegal Drugs Should not Be Legalized” Ray Wisher argues that “drugs and crime go together like gum and sidewalks, and ‘legalizing’ the drugs won’t change that sticky connection”. The rationale that supports this claim is the following: substance use is a health issue, which is characterized with the involuntary and uncontrolled necessity to continue consuming drugs. It means that individuals constantly need to spend much money for purchasing drugs. The cost of this stuff will remain high even if they are legalized because legalization implies taxation, and the new job positions to control and screen the substance use. Consequently, drug users who are engaged in crimes to receive means for purchasing drugs will remain in the same position. That is why, the legalization of drugs may not lead to the reduction of unlawful performance.


To make matters worse, it is natural to presume that legalization of drugs may enhance the volume of substance use. Many people are hold back from this phenomenon because it is illegal and, thus, punishable. Besides, it has a strong ethical drawback: addicted individuals are often excluded from healthy societal relations, they may struggle to find job, get loan, credits, make friends, and develop adequate intimate relations. Simply put, drug-free part of community is reluctant to communicate with drug users. In a case, if the illegal substances are legalized, the legal and social concerns will be eliminated.

In addition, the ethical considerations such as bad example of role models for a growing generation, and other factors will also disappear. This apprehension is supported by Damon Linker and Don Feder in their article “Legalizing Marijuana Would Harm Society”. They claim that even though consumption of marihuana does not inflict any significant physical hard, “it does produce a pathology of the soul”. As a result, the number of substance users can increase. This perspective means that more individuals will need money for purchasing drugs. Given that the easiest way to receive money is often illegal, the legalization of substances is actually expected to enhance criminal records instead of making the opposite effect.

A corresponding argument is revealed by Katie Grant in her article “Legalizing Heroin Will Harm the Poor”. In particular, she states that the ban for illegal drugs preserves the young generation from substance use. Grant scrutinizes: “take away the sanction of the law and they know . . . that the drugs problem will get worse”. Indeed, young people develop the notions about what is good and what is bad, what is allowed and what is forbidden in their childhood and adolescence by observing the attitudes of their role models. In this regard, teenagers will take the absence of punishment as encouragement for using drugs. For instance, children who start drinking and smoking are more likely to have limited supervision or similar example of their adults. Analyzing the conduct of the familiar individuals it becomes clear that there is a strong connection between behavioral patterns of substance users and corresponding examples  among their care-givers. Therefore, it is natural to conclude that the ban of sanctions for using drugs will lead to their enhanced abuse among the youth.

Besides, given that drug use lessens the inner locus of control, people may utilize their substance addiction as an excuse for their crimes. Consequently, if making, selling, and consuming drugs is legalized, the level of crimes will be reduced because these crimes will stop being considered as misconducts. In addition, viewing substance use as a health issue, many minor crimes, such as thefts, may be justified by the corresponding mental conditions. In this case, the amount of actions that are considered as criminal will be decreased, however, the real situation with misconducts will remain the same, or most likely, will deteriorate.

Continuing to discuss the criminal-related consideration connected to drug use, one may accentuate that the appropriate measure of punishment is arguable. For instance, the article “Marijuana Should Be Legalized” by Rich Lowry supports the idea that substance use is presently punished too severely. Specifically, the author believes that it is unfair “to send people to jail for using a drug that, in terms of its harmfulness, should be categorized somewhere between alcohol and tobacco on one hand and caffeine on the other”. Despite the fact that this argument deserves to be reviewed, it is not directly linked with the idea that illegal substances should be legalized.

What is more, the idea to legalize certain kinds of drugs is dangerous because it makes the borders between legal and illegal substances vaguer. The article “The Distinction between Legal and Illegal Drugs is Arbitrary” by Andrew Sullivan warns that “as the sophistication of pharmaceuticals develops exponentially each year, the lines we draw between legal and illegal . . . will become more and more arbitrary”. In other words, the author raises the issue of the slippery slope phenomenon when one may observe the increase of substance abuse as a gradual process, which suggests adopting the idea of the uncontrolled substance use step by step. In this case, the wicked action of drug legalization is blurred because the corresponding change of public views and legislative regulations are not drastic, but minimal at each phase. Nevertheless, the adverse outcomes of the erased border between legal and illegal substances are anticipated to be immense.

Another argument constitutes an ethical consideration, which reveals the scrutiny whether taking legal drugs is more ethical than consuming illegal substances for the same purpose. For example, to endure stressful life period a person is allowed to smoke tobacco or drink alcohol, take medicines, but is forbidden to consume drugs. The purpose of intake is the same; moreover, in both cases there is certain positive outcome – release from mental overloading and suffering. At the same time, as long as drugs are illegal, the danger is stronger acknowledged and manifested as the threat of physical harm and addiction in both cases. Hence, if drugs are legal, people may lessen their negative attitude to substance use. Consequently, the related health issues may be deteriorated.

Many people claim that tolerating substance use will reduce the corresponding negative social and health issue. However, to comprehend that the idea to legalize drugs use is wicked and pointless one should refer to the deceptive arguments of the advocates of this strategy. For instance, Bruce Anderson in his article “Heroin Should Be Legalized” scrutinizes that “by tolerating [heroin] usage, we would find it easier to minimise harm”. It is necessary to clarify that speaking about harmfulness the author implies the increased criminal records that are connected with substance use. Nevertheless, there is no rational background that supports this speculation. Consider the example, tolerating drug use suggests that more individuals will be engaged in substance abuse. Without a doubt, this approach is highly adverse because it means that the health of the entire nation will be negatively affected. In addition, ethical norms and moral consideration of this society will be undermined. Under the circumstances when the locus of control is reduced and one’s conscience is compromised, the level of crimes is supposed to grow. That is why, the premise that legalization of illegal drugs can lessen the harm is greatly dubious.

A similar idea is revealed by Gary E. Johnson in the article “Illegal Drugs Should Be Legalized”. In particular, this author strives to differentiate “a controlled substance and an illegal substance”. This distinction is supposed to convince people that drug use can be both controlled and legal and this combination is the healthiest and the most benevolent for a society. Nevertheless, the issue of drug abuse is insufficiently monitored and addressed in the present days when the illegal substances are still banned. It is hard to imagine the power that can take under control the situation with substance abuse when it is completely legal. Undoubtedly, this goal is hardly accomplishable. Therefore, illegal drugs must not be legalized.

Summing up the above-mentioned, one should emphasize that legalizing illegal drugs should not happen. This approach does not have any positive outcomes, which is proven with the discussed counterarguments. In particular, the ideas that drug legalization may decrease crime records or that it is fairer in terms of being equated with drinking and smoking do not point to any beneficial outcomes of substance use. On the contrary, it is clear that drug legalization will negatively affect the state budget as well as will increase the individual expenditures. In addition, it will lead to the growth of crime rate. Moreover, increased drug intake will stipulate the deterioration of the physical and mental health of the entire nation. Therefore, it is dangerous and erroneous to legalize illegal substances.